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Punishment by Seamus Heaney – Full Text & Analysis

Since I’ve had trouble finding the full text of Seamus Heaney’s “Punishment” elsewhere on the web, I decided to transcribe it here. I’m pulling this directly from his poetry collection titled North, which you can buy here.

Bog Body - "The Adulteress"

Punishment

I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.

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9 Metaphor Exercises to Empower Your Writing

Metaphors Be With You

As you probably know, I’m in the process of creating a series of lessons and exercises that help you improve your ability to work with metaphors. Here are the nine exercises, which I’ll be discussing in greater detail later on.

1: Metaphor Madlibs

What it’s for: Helping people recognize and understand metaphors.

How it works: These three “madlibs” have players supply the objects and verbs. The random selections are then put into famous metaphor-based sayings, a metaphor-rich story, and other metaphor frameworks. Players are able to dissect what makes a metaphor in a simple and enjoyable way.

The full entry can be found here.

2: A Little S&M

What it’s for: Helping people differentiate metaphors from other types of language (including simile, hyberbole, literal descriptions, and euphemisms).

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A Poem for a Stranger

“Why?” her eyes were placid sapphires, dim in their glimmering reflection of the night sky.

I leaned in and whispered, “Because you are the sort of girl they write poetry for.”

Girl in Silhouette - on the beach

Image courtesy of Flickr by Chris. P

I was right. This was the sort of girl whose smile shone bright, showing you something you’d been missing without even realizing it. The best part was, she didn’t even know she was that girl. It was heartbreaking, in a way, knowing that the substance of this connection—this finally tangible reaching—would vanish just as quickly as it was found. But that which we can’t capture in life, we capture in words.

Here’s an exercise to add a bit of romance in your life, along with an example from my world-wandering travels.

A Poem for a Stranger

What this exercise does: Participants write a poem about an experience, person, place, or object they have lost.

What this exercise is for: This exercise helps poets recognize how experience can be integrated with poetic expression, giving a hands-on experience of using concrete details to empower poetry and showing how poems can capture a sense of loss, transience, or nostalgia.

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Understanding the Ever-Mysterious Hyphen

Ah, the hyphen. As one of the world’s most ambiguous bits of punctuation, the hyphen has become the source of confusion, despair, and bone-rattling terror for writers around the world. But the mystery of the hyphen is far from impenetrable – and by understanding why we use this little dash, you’ll get a much better sense of how to use it.

The Basics of the Hyphen

Let’s start with the core function of hyphens: The hyphen clarifies modifiers.

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Happy Birthday -COMMA- Henry

direct address comma cake
Update: I’m still tracking down the original image, but this error seems to be an epidemic in the cake-making industry. Another recent birthday celebration I attended had a similar issue. The birthday girl allowed me to punctuate her cake — in red frosting, even!

On Saturday, I spent time with my family watching the new Narnia film and going to a Pirate-themed restaurant where my father kept trying to talk in Pirate lingo.  We also had a special guest: Henry, a family friend, who happened to be celebrating his birthday.

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How to Spell “A Lot”

Perhaps normal people have understandable phobias and pet peeves.  As an excessively dedicated writer, however, we have only warped versions of either.  To us, this is warped in its best possible sense.  For example, we cringe—no, we get a little physically ill—every time someone uses the word “alot” with me.

Of course, the major reason we have such a reaction to this word is that the only way this makes sense is if you’re referring to the mythical creature known as an alot (created by our friend at Hyperbole and a Half to help them cope with the same pain).  Therefore, “I care about this alot” turns into:

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